Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House

Press release by Allyson Mitchell & AGYU, July 17, 2013

Forget the dead this Hallowe’en

Feel the pulsing throb of something larger than life in Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House.
Opening this October in Toronto.

Holey Hell House!

Each Hallowe’en radical evangelical groups all over the USA and Canada build hell houses. Beginning in the 70’s, these performer-animated installations showcase a gruesome retribution for the sins of fornication, abortion, suicide, occultism, and— of course—same-sex relationships. This Hallowe’en Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell reclaims this hellish scenario with her crowd-sourced, lesbian-feminist, queer-fear-fighting celebration Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House located at 1302 Queen Street West, Toronto.

Wrapping this American Gothic Hell House tradition with yard upon illustrated, elaborately decorated yard of spirited craft aesthetic, Mitchell mobilizes her “deep lez” commitment to radical queer world-making potential. Through it, she conjures new kinds of representations of feminist sexuality and queer concepts of community and activism.

Rug-hooked, crocheted, and paper maché’d constructions are womb-like wonders for visitations of the undead lesbian community, who are hell-bent on remaining nightmarishly non-assimilated. Casting the spells of freaky feminist skill sharing and paranormal consciousness raising together with ghouls, bio-engineered monsters, indoctrinators, and avengers, this hell house is designed to pervert, not convert.

Deep Lez becomes Creep Lez—Just in time for Hallowe’en

(Insert witchy cackle here)
October 16 marks the grand opening of Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House. Dare to be scared by gender-queer apparitions, ball-busting butches, and never-married, happy-as-hell spinsters. For one night only, get down on riot ghouls and radical vampiric grannies while channeling your inner consciousness hell-raiser. Bite down on some beaver tails and suck back some fish tacos while you experience over 25 live performances, rock bands, video projections and much more fun too frightening to reveal…just yet.

Take a guided tour through the glorious and grisly detritus of Kill Joy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House from October 17 – 30, as this haunted house becomes an immersive art installation. Kill Joy’s Kastle will be open each day from 4 – 8 pm (or by appointment) and groups are welcome, especially the unruly kind. This ground-up, maximalist, not-to-be-missed haunted house—nailed, knit, and glued by a coven of dedicated feminists over the course of the past three months—provides a rare glimpse into Allyson Mitchell’s legendary craftivist world-view.

To book viewing appointments or class tours please contact: Emelie Chhangur at or Allyson Mitchell at

Allyson Mitchell’s Lesbian Hell House is “fearfully” brought to you by the Art Gallery of York University. AGYU is a university-affiliated public non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, and our membership. Allyson Mitchell would like to thank the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the York University Faculty Association (YUFA) for their financial support of this project.